When you first think about Pasadena, visions of the little old lady from or the Rose Bowl flea market may come to mind. When you first think about ube or flan, visions of old purple potatoes or lackluster custard are certain to appear. Well prepare to be blown away, because Pasadena is now a premier destination for one of the greatest dessert mergers of all time: the ube flan cupcake.
This cupcake is only served on Wednesdays or Saturdays, so don’t try and roll it into your Sunday flea market plans. It is special, so you’ll need to make an equally special trip to get it. And it will be worth it. I promise. Tucked away down a little alley separate from the tourist hustle and the can-i-ask-you-a-quick-question harassers on Colorado Blvd lays the unassuming Cafe 86.
When I first walked in, I almost instantly turned around to walk right back out in bewildered tears because the pastry case was EMPTY. WTF. I DROVE ALL THIS WAY. But never fear, a new tray was being delivered through the back window just in time, (CLOSE call – don’t do that to me, Cafe 86) and the smiling cafe guy asked the only question that could bring my blood pressure down: “How many do you want?” No limits. Yesssss.
My reply of, “Just one, please,” was met with several “Are you sure?”s. He gets me. He really gets me and we only just met! But unusual as my order was, I had things to do, so just one it stayed. *tear*
So basically, here is what is happening: a deep purple, moist (I said it) cupcake with a flavor similar to mild coconut. Then, instead of some nonsense buttercream frosting ruining the whole operation, it is topped with a firm eggy/caramel-y flan that stays put and doesn’t slide off and leak all over the place…..as flans are wont to do. The result is a perfectly balanced, not overly sweet (but still makes your fingers sticky, so fork is recommended) combination that (as full as you may be from possibly eating donuts and chocolate bars for bfast) leaves you wanting more. Like at least 6 more seems like a reasonable amount.
And next time I’m aroundish Pasadena, I will be coming back for (a mulitple of) 6 more. And a matcha brownie too.